Foreign or Domestic?


2011 Ford Fiesta SE

DOMESTIC: 2011 Ford Fiesta SE

“Grandpa always drove American made.”

“Those foreign cars get good gas mileage, and they last forever.”

We’ve all heard these statements before. From time to time, I get asked, “Tom, what is the best car made?” Or “Tom, should I buy foreign or domestic?” Unfortunately, my answer is that I don’t know. I do know this:

  • People often swear by one manufacturer or another.
  • Domestic car quality is much improved over what it once was.
  • Both foreign and domestic car manufactures have made great vehicles as well as vehicles with weaknesses or flaws.


When trying to make an informed purchase, one thing consumers consider is trade-in value. But market trends may affect relative trade-in value over time, and it may increase or decrease a few years down the road. These trends are based in part on changes made by the manufacturers and the public’s acceptance or rejection of those changes.


2008 Toyota Camry

FOREIGN: 2008 Toyota Camry

Repair costs are another element to consider. Certain vehicles, on average, may need fewer repairs than others. But if those repairs are more expensive repairs, are those vehicles actually less expensive to maintain? Sometimes, it can be difficult to calculate the actual cost of owning a particular vehicle.


I always recommend researching car values, dependability, and maintenance costs each time you go shopping. If you ask car dealers, most will tell you which cars sell well for them on a regular basis. They won’t repeatedly buy car models that give lots of problems. Also, most reputable auto dealers will offer a guarantee or service contract with the vehicles they sell.

In the end, purchase a vehicle that will accomplish your goals—big and roomy, or small and fuel efficient, or sometimes a little bit of both. If you buy a vehicle with a good track record of durability from a reputable dealer, regardless of whether it is foreign or domestic, you have certainly taken two important steps toward making a wise purchase.

Happy Trails,

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